In Urban Nicaragua
- Nicaragua is bounded by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
- The western half of Nicaragua is made up generally of valleys separated by low but rugged mountains and many volcanoes.
- The eastern half of Nicaragua has low, level plains.
- The Pacific side of the country is characterized by a rainy season from May to November and a dry season from December to April.
- On the Caribbean side, the rainy season lasts for about nine months of the year, and a dry season extends from March through May.
Nicaragua has highly unequal income distribution levels and a high rate of poverty, with nearly half the population living in poverty.
There are very few job opportunities in the urban slums. Most people earn about U.S.$3 or $4 a day.
Because of the poverty and lack of job opportunities in Nicaragua, many people leave the country, seeking employment elsewhere.
Children at Home
Many Compassion-assisted child development centers serve people living in the barrios, many of which lack electricity and running water.
Houses are very close together and everything — music, talking and arguing — can be heard from the home next door.
Homes here typically have two or three rooms and house between five and 10 family members.
Issues and Concerns
- Since household incomes are very low, many families suffer malnutrition because they can’t afford nutritious food.
- Some parents are forced to leave the country to look for higher-paying jobs, and as a result children often live with grandparents or other extended family.
- Gangs can be a problem in the barrios, as well as alcohol and drug abuse.
Local Needs and Challenges
Lack of public services
Services like water and garbage collection are sporadic in the urban slums.
Lack of access to medical assistance
Children often suffer the results of the unsanitary environment, but parents can’t afford medical help when they become ill.
With widespread family disintegration, urban children are vulnerable to domestic abuse.
Compassion’s program seeks to address and remove these challenges from the lives of assisted children so that they can grow into happy, healthy, responsible Christian adults.
Schools and Education
- Nicaraguan society is largely undereducated — students take an average of 10.3 years to complete the mandatory six years of schooling.
- Up to a fourth of school-age children are not in school, and many do not finish high school. Fewer enter or complete university.
- There is a need for better school facilities; some classrooms have up to 50 students packed into them.
Compassion Nicaragua works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend elementary school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Child development centers in urban communities provide registered children with a place to learn, grow and study.
Children are given hope and are taught to believe that they can live out their dreams.
Every effort is made for each child to clearly understand the message and love of Jesus Christ.
Centers also provide opportunities for involvement by the parents or guardians of sponsored children.
These children also spend time writing to and praying for their sponsors.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing real help and hope to impoverished children in urban Nicaragua, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- housing and food for the poorest families through Compassion church partners working with local government agencies
- regular home visits by center staff to encourage children to stay on the right path in life
- the opportunity to participate in evangelistic services on Sundays
- training in such vocational courses as cosmetology and handicraft making
Partner churches also work closely with local police to make them aware of dangerous situations for families, like abuse or robbery.